German Village Gazette

German Village

'Corrals' on Third Street, recycling bins top news in '12

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Sarah Irvin Clark, a member of the German Village Society board of trustees and a community volunteer, hoists the Fred & Howard award during a breakfast at Max & Erma's June 7. The award, named after Fred Holdridge and Howard Burns, is given annually to someone who exhibits outstanding ambassadorship and service to German Village.THISWEEKNEWS FILE PHOTO
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The continued preservation and beautification of German Village took center stage in 2012.

As part of a longstanding mission, the German Village Society continued its efforts to clean up the look of South Third Street.

The latest target: Newspaper boxes. The hope is to install decorative three-sided corrals around the boxes, located in four areas on South Third.

The Columbus Foundation recently awarded the GVS a $10,000 grant toward the purchasing of the corrals, designed to shield motorists and pedestrians from the boxes.

The streetscape committee still is in the process of choosing the final design for the corrals, which should be in place this spring.

The community also renewed its deference to the Friedrich Schiller statue in Schiller Park.

Sept. 8, park enthusiasts had a rededication of Schiller statue, erected in honor of the German poet, historian and playwright after whom the park was named.

Friends of Schiller Park, with some financial backing from the GVS, cleaned up the area around the statue, installed lighting and installed a plaque detailing the background of Schiller.

Then, as part of the Columbus bicentennial celebration, a party was held in the park the following day. Hundreds converged on the park for a picnic, pie-baking contest, scavenger hunt and ice cream social.

And while residents initially complained about new recycling containers, it appears they have been accepted.

As part of a citywide recycling initiative launched this year, German Village received their 64-gallon carts over the summer.

People in the community immediately lambasted them as rather unattractive and too big for the neighborhood's small properties.

City officials, meanwhile, said they were not considering smaller containers to meet the needs of the people in the historic district.

There was a suggestion that some neighborhoods possibly share containers to conserve space. Bi-weekly collection began July 31.

As of that time, 97.9 percent of residents in the area, which included other neighborhoods on the South Side, were participating, the city said.

Columbus City Schools is nearing closer to final approval of a massive overhaul of Stewart Alternative Elementary School.

The German Village and Brewery District commissions in November signed off on most aspects of the plan, which includes an 18,000-square-foot addition and major renovations to the historic building.

Because the project crossed two historic district boundaries, both architectural review boards had to weigh in on the matter.

The German Village Commission is waiting on some additional details of the plan before it proceeds with final approval.

The project had gone through several designs before the district decided to cluster all the buildings on one property and place several amenities, such as a playground and parking lot, across Pearl Street.

The closing of Pearl was the subject of much debate over several months, as members of both commissions expressed concern over forever altering traffic patterns.

The school district maintained the closing of the alley was necessary to ensure the safety of the children.

Each architectural review board in the end relented, saying it was worth the inconvenience to drivers to allow the $11 million project to move forward.

The school was badly damaged in a fire in 2010. The students were reassigned to Beck Elementary School.

Selective demolition of the building will start in January with construction beginning in March. The school is scheduled to reopen in the fall of 2014.

To the relief of some and protests of others, the city of Columbus banned parking in the portion of eight alleys and streets in the neighborhood.

City officials said the alleys were too narrow and cars were blocking sanitation trucks and emergency vehicles.

In October, the city sent out notifications to affected property owners. But some residents argued that the move would take away valuable parking in a neighborhood where spaces were at a premium. Those who violate the parking ban face a $50 fine and possible towing fees.

Juergen's Bakery, known for its savory and sweet Bavarian dishes, was getting a reputation for something else in 2012.

Columbus Public Health temporarily closed the bakery in April for repeated violations. Rosemarie Keidel, who owns the restaurant, steadfastly defending herself against the accusation, saying the city had ignored some documentation showing she was in compliance and that health officials were being unreasonable.

Yet, in July, inspectors found additional violations. The city allowed the restaurant to remain open while 120 days of increased monitoring took place. Columbus health officials said there have been no violations found since then.

In July, the German Village Society and Columbus City Schools reached an accord over the disputed tax-exempt status of the society's Meeting Haus, 588 S. Third St.

The society has agreed to pay the school district $88,875 in order to end litigation over the matter.

The amount represents a portion of the money in real estate taxes the society would have paid to the school district from 2000 to 2010.

The school district thereby withdrew its objections to the exemption and Ohio Tax Commissioner approved tax-exempt status for the Meeting Haus from 2011 forward.

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